Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A Long, Long Way From My Home

Here's me at Standish and Hickey State Park where I lived while I was in the California Conservation Corps.

Okay, As promised (or threatened) here is more of my writing exercise from a couple of weeks ago:

She picked Santa Rosa at the suggestion of one of the dishwashers at the restaurant where she worked back in Iowa. He said it was nice mid-sized town where he thought she'd be able to get around pretty easily without a car. Of course, he couldn't have known they'd be be shooting a movie there. A movie that would star Kathleen Turner and take place in 1960, so they wouldn't let anyone dressed in their 1985 clothes anywhere near the downtown. She had to take a very long detour to get anywhere. So, she either walked for at least an hour from her motel to almost everywhere else, or she hitchhiked.

How it worked with the Conservation Corps., was that she had to sign up and get a full physical at any of the towns in California, then she had to wait about a month to see if she made it in. She picked The Redwood Motel out of a phone book. The name conjured up happy memories of the trees in Yosemite where her family had gone on vacation when she was 12. The reality of the Redwood Motel was dingy and desolate and on the outskirts of town, next to a trailer court.

The first full day in Santa Rosa was a Sunday. She walked a half an hour to the closest store and wandered down the aisles. It felt strange to be 19 and NOT live in a college town. Everyone was either so much older or a child. She didn't think she could identify with anyone she passed in the store. It was a familiar predicament for her. She had first moved to Iowa from a very working-class town in the Chicago area. In high school, she was a little too harsh for the popular kids and didn't drink or do drugs, so the rougher kids (or scurves, as they were known in her town) didn't have much use for her either. She felt chronically isolated. Although, she smiled to herself, she had a hard time identifying with her self from five minutes ago too, so maybe the isolation was more her problem than anyone else's. She had a bad habit of being quite contrary.


rel said...

I've know that feeling of isolation so well it feels almost comfortable now.

Quite contrary, is your name Mary?

Mrs. Hairy Woman said...

Feeling isolated is something I can relate to.. as a kid growing up in a very rural area and the nearest store was 5 miles away..Walking to it would've killed me.. and any friends I went to visit must have felt the same way.. But now I crave that isolation again.. The peace and quiet that goes along with it..

Ananda girl said...

Alienation... that is what I fear most about my up-coming move! That disconnected isolation of knowing few if any. How well you tell it! Strikes a nerve for me, Churlita. But your bravery is inspiration and I know I have more waiting for me than you did. Still... so nice to have another one who understands.

As always, well written, well done!

booda baby said...

Whee! The writing of a woman doing home remodeling projects! :)

Actually, I get a much better picture of a girl's isolation from the Redwood Motel paragraph. I would like some leeetle indication about how she feels about it. Feeling chronically isolated isn't necessarily a bad thing. The motel might be dingy and desolate, but those might be conditions someone feels protective about. I just can't tell.

Is this a creative non-fiction exercise?

It's really a good story, isn't it? Why yes. It is!!

Churlita said...

Rel, Sometimes my name should be Mary. Heh, heh.

Mrs, I think it's something we all feel. Sometimes it's a comfort, and sometimes it's disheartening.

Ananda, I doubt you'll ever be isolated. You're going to be with your man and people seem to gravitate to you wherever you are. Plus, all of us bloggers will be there with you.

Booda, Most of what I write on here are just very rough drafts of something I haven't quite figured out yet. Usually, something will pop into my head while I'm running, and I'll just spew it out on the page here. I have delusions of collecting all the writing exercises up and honing them and figuring out what the hell I'm going to do with them. I just haven't figured out when that will be yet.

laura b. said...

I love the idea of someone not being able to relate to the their own self from 5 minutes ago. I've never heard it put that way, but of course I've felt it.